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Election offenses and penalties

Election offences & Penalties

An election offence is a criminal act committed during electoral process that compromises the fairness and transparency of an election

Election Offences include;

  • impersonation
  • bribery
  • use of force or violence during election period.
  • use of public resources.
  • participation in elections campaigns by public officers.
  • unlawful expenditure in campaigns.
  • offences relating to use of technology in elections.
  • employers to allow employees reasonable period for voting.
  • aiding and abetting offences.
  • breach of electoral code of conduct.

Election officials and members of staff of the commission are not allowed to;

  • Conduct activities related to polling duties without making an oath of secrecy.
  • Make any false or untrue entries to any materials under their custody
  • Permit assistance to voters who are able to read and write
  • Prevent any voter from casting their vote in the right polling station
  • Reject or refuse to count a vote intended for any particular candidate
  • Count a doubtful ballot paper
  • Interfere with the casting of vote in secret
  • Offer undue advantage to any political party or candidate


Election Candidates are not allowed to;

  • Treat voters, including influencing a voter to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate, promising a reward or aids provision of foodstuffs to voters or makes payment in any manner to a voter
  • Directly or indirectly threaten use of force or any form of harm
  • Compel a person to vote in a particular manner
  • Prevent a person from being nominated as a candidate
  • Influence the result of an election
  • Use public resources


Causes of election offences

  • inadequate voter and civic education
  • lack of faith in the electoral body
  • lack of faith in the electoral process
  • lack of awareness of the electoral process.
  • lack of awareness of legal provisions by political parties.
  • wrong attitude of political party leaders.
  • political repression, harassment and intimidation.
  • breakdown of conflict management mechanism.
  • ethnic balkanization into regional and ethnic divisions.
  • poverty.
  • undue political influence.
  • political greed.
  • political repression.
  • compromised security system.
  • incitement.
  • illiteracy.
  • obstruction.
  • inaccessibility of the polling center especially for the disabled and senior citizens.
  • lack of appropriate voting materials for special groups.


Ways of preventing election offences

  • Conduct effective and continuous voter education.
  • encourage dialogue among different stakeholders in the electoral process.
  • enhance accurate and responsible reporting on electoral processes by the media.
  • enhance effective monitoring system of the electoral process.
  • enforce the code of conduct on election offences.
  • enhance inter-agency collaboration and net



Penalties for election offenders vary based on the nature of the offense.

  • Offences relating to register of voters attract a fine of up to Kshs 1 million and to imprisonment of up to 6 years.
  • Offenses relating to multiple registration attracts a fine of up to Kshs 100,000 or up to 1 year imprisonment or both and is further not allowed to participate in that election and the next election.
  • Offenses relating to voting process are penalized up to Kshs 1million or imprisonment of up to 6 years or both.
  • Election officials’ offences attract a fine of up to Kshs 1 million- or 3-years imprisonment or both. Candidates who commit any offence get disqualified from running in the seats they are seeking.


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